Letter of Intent
Project Size: 
Large, >$1,000
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: 
$4,500
Letter of Intent: 

UW-Solar requests, in the first phase of this project, $4,500.00 to complete a feasibility study for the placement of smart solar panels on University of Washington buildings. If approved, we anticipate requesting CSF funding of approximately $90,000 for design and construction of the solar panel arrays. UW-Solar will leverage this funding for more, through the UW Student Technology Fee Committee, and other public grants.

UW-Solar: Two Objectives

1. To provide clean and sustainable power production in order to reduce reliance on outside energy resources, improve the resilience of power systems to outages and reduce the overall carbon footprint of the university. Allowing the university to become more self-sufficient in its energy production will reduce direct costs and environmental impact while improving capabilities for community service and rapid recovery during any future crises. The use of clean and renewable energy sources are a primary objective, as stated in the University of Washington’s Climate Action plan, for the future sustainability of the University.

2. Smart infrastructure systems rely upon computerized systems (SCADA) for monitoring and remote control. SCADA systems control water and sewer infrastructure, electrical grids, oil refineries, transportation systems, manufacturing systems, nuclear energy and hazardous chemical production. Historically, such systems were developed in isolation from each other, and were not designed for security and resilience to cyber-attack. The security of these systems on campus is important to UW, and as a model for other campuses, but also cities and regions. This project creates an opportunity for students to lead a project that develops and studies a smart solar energy Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) System.

The long-term UW-Solar vision is for the installation of solar panels across campus. The main benefits to continued installation are reduced outside energy resource consumption, reduced energy costs, energy resilience, environmental educational opportunities, and decreased environmental impacts.

Our interdisciplinary team, consisting of students in four UW Colleges, and in PhD, Masters, and Undergraduate programs, will develop a feasibility study, including maps of possible locations for solar panel installation on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus and a priority listing of projects, pursuant to the preferences of UW Administrators. We have engaged the enthusiastic participation of Housing and Food Services for this purpose. In 90 days, we will establish approval for the project, along with:

  • Policy related issues for the university;
  • University payments process for power usage;
  • Facilities issues including building and structural considerations;
  • Space usage concerns;
  • Location decision criteria and accessibility issues;
  • Approximate power generation;
  • Carbon equivalent measures comparing our output to other energy sources;
  • Cost savings for installation;
  • Average period for return on investment;
  • Potential for return of capital funding to the CSF for use on future projects;
  • Plans and commitments for management and maintenance of the installations;
  • Consensus for the project from stakeholders across the UW.

This feasibility study will develop a partnership with the College of Built Environments and University Housing and Food Services as pilots for construction and implementation of the solar arrays. This proposal is for the first phase of work. The second phase begins in early March of 2013 with major implementation from June to September of 2013.

After installation, UW-Solar will position monitors and publish on the web current real-time and historical energy production and savings from the solar panels. These monitors will educate the university community on the importance of environmental sustainability, the use of renewable resources, advantages of energy conservation, and overall savings in energy cost as an advantage of solar power. The panels will be connected to emergency energy supplies, to advocate and educate on resilience. Additionally, the team will develop a curriculum for use in a seminar on the process of siting solar panels, and offer this curriculum in a graduate student-led course for credit on campus.

STUDENT TEAM:

  • DC Grant – Masters of Infrastructure, Planning, and Management Candidate in the Department of Urban Design and Planning, College of Built Environments, National Science Foundation Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service Recipient, and Researcher in the Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity. DC has a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and Systems from the University of Washington and has over twenty years of technology experience in IT Operations, Project Management and Information Assurance.
  • Stefanie Young – Ph.D. Candidate in Urban Planning and Design in the College of Built Environments. She earned a Bachelor’s of Architecture from the University of Oregon and Masters of Urban Design and Planning from the University of Washington. Stephanie has more than eight years of experience in sustainable design and six years of direct solar implementation experience.
  • Jonathan Olds – Masters of Public Administration Candidate in the Evans School of Public Affairs and Masters of Urban Planning and Design Candidate in the College of Built Environments. He has a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts, with emphasis in environmental science and environmental management. Jonathan is an experienced environmental manager with over ten years of work in sustainability and environmental conservation practices.
  • Otis Alexander – Bachelors of Computer Science and Systems Candidate in the Institute of Technology. Applied Distributed Computing Lab: Smart and Secure Computing Research Group.
  • Kyle Nicholas – Masters of Infrastructure, Planning and Management Student in the Department of Urban Design and Planning, College of Built Environments.
  • Justin Brecese – Master of Science in Information Management Candidate, National Science Foundation Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service Recipient.
  • Casey Rodgers – Master of Science in Information Management Candidate, National Science Foundation Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service Recipient.
  • Kristen Gelino – Master of Urban Planning Candidate, received a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and Political Science from the University of Michigan.

FACULTY SUPPORT:

  • Jan Whittington, MCRP, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, Urban Design and Planning; Associate Director, Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity.

HOUSING AND FOOD SERVICES CONTACT:

  • J.R. Fulton, - Architect, Capital Planning and Sustainability Manager for Housing and Food Services expressed a strong interest in the success of this project.
Contact Information
Primary Contact First & Last Name: 
Stefanie Young
E-mail: 
sy10@uw.edu
Full Proposal

This will display after the CSF committee has reviewed and approved your LOI, and after you have received the link to edit your application.

Executive Summary: 

UW-Solar is a student led organization developing a solar installation with an accompanying Industrial Control System; planned to be installed on a Housing and Food Service residence hall on the University of Washington Seattle Campus. UW-Solar will be providing effective outreach to students about the benefits of smart solar systems.

Currently there are 11 students participating. They represent 5 Schools, 5 Departments, 2 campuses within the University of Washington system and they range from undergrads to Ph.D. level students.

We are in the process of developing our website, http://www.uw-solar.org.

Total amount requested from the CSF: 
$4 500
This funding request is a: 
Grant
Budget: 
ItemCost per ItemQuantityTotal Cost
Equipment & Construction
Solar Installation SystemTBDTBDApprox $80,000
SCADATBDTBDApprox $80,000
Publicity & Communications
Signange and MonitorsTBDTBDApprox $20
Personnel & Wages
N/A
General Supplies & Other
N/A
Non-CSF Sources: 
Source/DescriptionAmount RequestedDate RequestedDate Received
Sustainable Path Foundation (TBD)$19,800Dec. 15TBD
NSF (Cyber-Physical Systems)$750,000Jan 29TBD
Natural Choice Directory (donated space for text and advertisements about the project)$1,250Early JanJan 11
Project Completion Total: 
$160 000
Sustainability Impact: 
Energy Use
Sustainability Challenge: 

The long-term UW-Solar vision is for the installation of solar panels at multiple UW sites, with a model for finance and management easy to replicate; thus to encourage expansion, at UW any other public university. The main benefits to continued installations are a reduction in outside energy resource consumption, reduced energy costs, community energy resilience and independence, environmental educational opportunities, and decreased environmental impacts.

Explain how the impacts will be measured: 

A component of the project is to track energy production through the industrial control system, which manages information and controls the function of the panels and flow of energy and data, showing the energy output daily, monthly, and seasonally. We will have displays in the project buildings to educate the student body on the amount of power generation created though UW-Solar project.

 
Education & Outreach: 

After installation, UW-Solar will position monitors and publish to the web current real-time and historical energy production and savings information from the solar panel installations. These monitors will educate the community on the importance of environmental sustainability, the use of renewable resources, advantages of energy conservation, and overall savings in energy cost as an advantage of solar power. The panels will be connected to emergency energy supplies, to advocate and educate on resilience.

The feasibility study, to be completed Winter term, plus the design and installation phases, include the solicitation of bids from firms to volunteer services and/or donate equipment. In the process of participating, the firms will educate and mentor participating students on the products, markets, and processes for developing solar and related smart systems. Obtaining donated space in the Natural Choice Directory is just one part of the campaign to interest private firms in our project, because the prospect of publications about our project and their involvement attract their participation. To establish financing and ownership arrangements for this and further installations, the UW-Solar team will include institutional and capital finance arrangements in the feasibility study, for approval by Housing and Food Services, and all appropriate UW administrators. These arrangements, perhaps the first of their kind on campus, will ease the replication of solar investments at UW and similar universities. Thus, our outreach includes contact with other public universities, at conferences or special events attended by UW-Solar participants.

Campus outreach will include the dissemination of information through UW student organizations devoted to sustainability and cyber-security. Should the project move from feasibility to design and installation – as planned in the Spring of 2013 – members of the UW-Solar team continuing their education the following fall will propose a freshman interest group on the subject of solar power, sustainability, the mitigation of greenhouse gases, and cyber-security.

Furthermore, a curriculum is being developed for seminars on siting and funding solar panels, to be offered as a graduate student-led course for credit. The completion of this pilot study will impact the larger region by providing a framework for the application of these methods to similar projects across the region. This, in turn, will enhance the overall resilience of the Pacific Northwest.

Student Involvement: 

There are 11 students that are volunteering their time to develop the feasibility study, design and implement the UW-Solar project. These students range from undergraduates to Ph.D. students and represent over 5 Schools and Departments within the University of Washington.

There are three project leaders that manage the rest of the team. The leaders run each sub-section of the project ensuring all the necessary items are completed with appropriate timeliness and high standard.

Stefanie Young – Manager of Solar Feasibility
Candidate, Interdisciplinary PhD in Urban Planning and Design, College of Built Environments.

Jonathan Olds – Manager of Stakeholder Contacts, Permitting, and Approvals
Masters of Public Administration Candidate in the Evans School of Public Affairs and Masters of Urban Planning and Design Candidate in the College of Built Environments.

D.C. Grant – Manager of Industrial Control Systems
Masters of Infrastructure, Planning, and Management Candidate in the Department of Urban Design and Planning, College of Built Environments, and National Science Foundation Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service Recipient.

The rest of the team complements the work and experience the team managers have and the division of labor that is required for the project.

Kristen Gelino
Master of Urban Planning Candidate, College of Built Environments, with a specialization in environmental planning.

Michele Hill
Master of Urban Planning Candidate, College of Built Environments, with a specialization in environmental planning.

Otis Alexander
Bachelors of Computer Science and Systems Candidate, in the Institute of Technology. Applied Distributed Computing Lab, the Smart and Secure Computing Research Group, at UW Tacoma.

Kyle Nichols
Masters of Infrastructure, Planning and Management Student in the Department of Urban Design and Planning, College of Built Environments.

Casey Rodgers
Master of Science in Information Management Candidate, the Information School, National Science Foundation Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service Recipient.

Justin Brecese
Master of Science in Information Management Candidate, the Information School, National Science Foundation Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service Recipient.

Our faculty advisor is Assistant Professor Jan Whittington, MCRP, PhD, of the Department of Urban Design and Planning, Assistant Director of the Masters of Infrastructure Planning and Management Program, and Associate Director of the University of Washington Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity. Her research and professional practice span infrastructure development and finance, the economics of infrastructure, and environmental science.

As the project continues through Winter quarter, the project roles and responsibilities will become more defined.

Timeline: 
TaskTimeframeEstimated Completion Date
Feasibility StudyJan-March$5,000
Installation Document Development March-June$0
ProcurementMarch-JuneApprox $10,000
InstallationJuneApprox $75,000
Year: 
Amount Awarded: 
$4,500
Project status: 
Completed